ROUND ABOUT RYE 95
In these verses Kipling treats of emotions which are the common property of man. We have all had the same feelings as the rustic on Brooklands Road some time or other—the midnight walk through some desolate country, the impalpable night, ominous, mysterious all around, foliage so dense that the stars are hidden, strange shadows dancing and trees that twist their branches into fantastic shapes, the long-drawn-out and mournful howl of a dog which spells the word death somewhere at the back of the brain, and then—O Terror of Terrors !—the patter of footsteps behind ; footsteps that stop when you pause, and commence again when you step breathlessly forward.
The marshes about Fairfield are the haunts of wild fowl, snipe especially breeding in abundance, while the ditches are well stocked with eels and perch, with here and there a ferocious pike to wage war upon the smaller fry in the stream. The weathercock of Fairfield Church, that turns and creaks overhead, is riddled with bullets, and the reason of this I am told is that there is a tradition among sportsmen that when they pass the little church it is the correct thing to salute the old vane with powder and shot. This church is very old—some say over a thousand years. Services are not held here in the winter time. It